Talking with your dying loved one allows you to fully express your love for each other, share stories of your time together and prepare to say good-bye. Talking draws the dying person and their family closer together and allows them to validate and confirm the significance of the relationship in their lives. It confirms the dying person as a treasured love one and it allows them to do the same for you. It gives you a chance to acknowledge past hurts or unresolved conflicts which begin to heal by giving and receiving forgiveness. Talking opens the door for meaningful conversations that can guide one towards a sense of inner resolution.

Sharing Wishes for Care

Meaningful conversations explore what is important to the dying person and help the caregiver to better understand how their loved one wants to be cared for in their remaining time. You can take comfort in knowing that you are offering the kind of care your love one wants while respecting their wishes.

Discussing the Future

Conversation provides the opportunity for family members to talk about how their lives will continue without their loved one and to clarify their future goals and aspirations. This can reassure the dying person that their love one has a vision for the future and will be able to go on without them.

When Communication Becomes One Way

Talking is just one of many of the ways we communicate. Much of our communication is nonverbal. Hand holding, eye contact, loving touch, a kiss, a smile, a squeeze can all communicate as well. Your loved one will progress to the point where talking requires too much energy, but that doesn’t mean you should withdraw. This is when your loved ones needs to feel and hear your presence the most.

Source: Marty Hogan, L. (2011). Compassionate Conversations for Caregivers. Ashland, Oregon: Sacred Vigil Press.